Mediation is a voluntary process in which an impartial mediator assists the parties to resolve their dispute to their mutual satisfaction.
Ms. Curtis' hourly fee is $650. The rate may be adjusted upwards in multi-party disputes or downwards in pre-litigation disputes in which the parties appear in mediation without the presence of lawyers, such as in eldercare disputes.
Mediation is a voluntary process, and the mediator does not impose a result on the parties. A mediate agreement can be binding if the parties agree to be bound by the terms of a written agreement. This document could have the force of a contract, which can be enforced in court. Ms. Curtis does not draft these contracts, but can provide the attorney drafting it with a summary of the parties' agreement.
Typically, it takes a day of mediation to resolve a litigated case. Some disputes benefit from multiple shorter sessions. Complex disputes, especially if high-conflict cases such as trust and estate matters, or those that involve multiple parties, may require a second session.
Ms. Curtis pledges to keep all mediation sessions confidential. The parties may agree not to disclose to third parties what goes on in mediation.
To protect what is said and documents prepared for mediation, the California Legislature enacted Evidence Code sections 1115-1129 that provide strict protections against discovery or introduction of evidence of what is said in mediation or documents produced for the purpose of mediation in subsequent civil (but not criminal) proceedings.. As of January 1, 2019, lawyers must inform their clients in writing of these protections and secure their signatures at the earliest possible point that mediation becomes relevant, but before mediation begins. You will find a form that tracks the language of section 1129 here.
When parties meet in separate session with Ms. Curtis, she will keep information confidential from the other party, if requested.
With few exceptions, most disputes can be successfully mediated. If parties are motivated to work together to resolve their dispute and are willing to enter into a mutually satisfactory resolution, mediation is appropriate.
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